Living in Community

11.1 COPE will adopt a harm reduction approach in regard to people engaged in the sex trade and advocate that the federal and provincial governments adopt similar legal frameworks.

11.2 COPE supports the right of all workers, including those employed in Vancouver’s sex industry, to organize into unions, and to protection under Employment Standards, B.C. Labour Code, and the Worker’s Compensation Act.

11.3 COPE will adopt the 2007 Living in Community Action Plan as the City’s position on Balancing Perspectives on Vancouver’s Sex Industry , and will implement core funding for the plan.

Living in Community: Summary of Action Plam

Community Development
Action 1:Fund a community-based position to facilitate the implementation of the Living in Community Action Plan in collaboration with community members and groups, including sex workers, business, and governmental organizations.

Action 2: The City of Vancouver should commit resources equivalent to one full-time position to work with city departments and community members to develop a coordinated approach to issues associated with sex work.

Action 3: Strike a working group including representatives of city departments, provincial and federal governments, community members, and sex workers, to consider ways and means to ensure increased health and safety of sex workers and to prevent sexual exploitation.

Action 4: Review, improve, and support existing programs that prevent sexual exploitation and recruitment, and develop a standardized curriculum for children, youth, and parents focusing on healthy sexuality, self-esteem, recruitment prevention, and healthy parenting.

Action 5: Sex worker organizations develop public education campaigns to educate the community about sexual exploitation of children and youth and the realities of the sex industry, and work to improve media understanding and representation of sex work by the media.

Action 6: Promote public awareness of the educational and resource information contained in the Community Initiative for Health and Safety’s On-line Toolkit.

Action 7: Develop a standardized curriculum and training to teach social work, law enforcement staff, and health and justice professionals how to work with sex workers effectively and respectfully.

Action 8: Establish ongoing partnerships between community-based organizations and academic institutions to ensure continuous feedback between research, policy, and practice.

Intervention and Harm Reduction
Action 9: Immediately develop and implement a strategy to ensure safety for street-based sex workers.

Action 10: Solidify sustainable funding for the Mobile Access Project Van, a partnership between PACE Society and The WISH Drop-in Centre Society, which provides overnight outreach and support services to women working on the street.

Action 11: Fund the expansion of service by the MAP Van (Mobile Access Project Van) to daytime hours to fulfill a Quick Response liaison and support role for sex workers and other community members impacted by the sex industry, to reduce reliance on enforcement and to promote health and safety in the community.

Action 12: Make communities visibly cleaner through various actions such as increasing street-cleaning crews and providing garbage cans, street lighting, and needle disposal services throughout the city.

Action 13: In collaboration with all stakeholders, develop and promote the implementation of health and safety guidelines and a code of conduct for all community members in neighbourhoods to reduce the negative impacts of sex work in a respectful, safe way.

Action 14: Strengthen the ability of sex worker organizations to provide crucial frontline support and outreach to marginalized sex worker populations.

Action 15: Redevelop SRO Hotels to provide safe, affordable and supportive housing to sex workers with a continuum of support services as required, starting with one hotel in 2007.

Action 16: Provide safehouses with adequate space for sexually exploited children and youth, and female, male, and transgendered sex workers.

Action 17: Provide a continuum of addiction withdrawal management services for female, male and transgendered sex workers, and sexually exploited children and youth, including dedicated counselling, detox, treatment, and recovery house services.

Action 18: Create and support innovative harm reduction programs designed specifically to support sex workers with substance addictions to increase their ability to make positive, healthy choices.

Action 19: Develop and fund a continuum of safe spaces providing appropriate treatment and supports to individuals who wish to exit the sex industry, at all stages of recovery.

Action 20: Expand employment opportunities in partnership with local business to provide training and ongoing support to individuals exiting sex work as well as assistance to businesses providing the opportunities.

Legal Responses
Action 21: Support the call from sex workers for the development and implementation of a multi-stakeholder cooperative to provide safe indoor workspaces, a code of conduct, education, and training for the most vulnerable sex workers.

Action 22: Review City of Vancouver by-laws to ensure that they support the health and safety of sex workers in indoor venues; ensure access to these venues for communityhealth and safety support workers.

Action 23: Review the elements of the justice system – enforcement, support and prosecution – to ensure that those who buy sex from children and youth and those who recruit children and youth are prosecuted.

Action 24: Move section 212.4 from the prostitution laws section of the Criminal Code to the violence/assault sections of the Criminal Code to demonstrate that children and youth under the age of 18 are not sex workers, but rather sexually exploited.

Action 25: Enforce Restraining Order 98 of the Child, Family and Community Services Act.

Action 26: Support the diversionary process when dealing with sex workers facing criminal charges.

Action 27: Strike a working group at the local level to review the impact of the enforcement of laws relating to prostitution and to explore changes to the current laws that would make communities healthier and safer.